New planet is hot. Real hot.
New planet is hot. Real hot. (Thinkstock/Dana Berry/SkyWorks/NASA via AP)
New planet is hot. Real hot.
Lexile: 1070L
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

There's a new rocky Earth-size planet on our galactic block and it's a sizzler.
 
Astrophysicists have revealed the newfound world, GJ 1132b. It is named after the small nearby star that it orbits.
 
Even though the mercury can hit 450 degrees at this planet, it's cool enough to have a thick Venus-like atmosphere. Lucky for scientists, it's close enough to find out.
 
Planet GJ 1132b is just 39 light-years away.  That is within the atmospheric study range of the Hubble Space Telescope. Given that a single light-year represents 5.87 trillion miles - the distance light can travel in a year - this planet is about 230 trillion miles away.
 
A team led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Zachory Berta-Thompson discovered the planet in May.  The team used telescopes in Chile. He and his colleagues reported their findings in the journal Nature.
 
While the scientists say the planet is too hot for life, it's still much cooler than the rocky fireballs known to orbit stars beyond our solar system. The official term for a planet outside our solar system is exoplanet.
 
"If we find this pretty hot planet has managed to hang onto its atmosphere over the billions of years it's been around, that bodes well for the long-term goal of studying cooler planets that could have life," Berta-Thompson said in a statement.
 
Berta-Thompson and the others estimate that GJ 1132b has a diameter of about 9,200 miles.  That is slightly bigger than Earth. Its mass, however, is thought to be 60 percent greater than Earth's.
 
Its home star - GJ 1132 - is a red dwarf one-fifth the size of our sun. The planet circles every 1.6 days from just 1.4 million miles out, thus the heat wave. A slight dip in the starlight every 1.6 days was the giveaway for the observing team.
 
"Our ultimate goal is to find a twin Earth," said astronomer David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, one of the authors, "but along the way we've found a twin Venus."
 
He added in a statement: "We suspect it will have a Venus-like atmosphere, too, and if it does, we can't wait to get a whiff."
 
The astronomers are seeking follow-up observations from Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2018 and other future craft could provide even more details.
 
In a companion article in Nature, the University of Maryland's Drake Deming points out astronomers will be able to study GJ 1132b with "unprecedented fidelity" given its proximity and also the small size of its star, which should minimize light interference with the measurements. That, in large part, makes it in his words "arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system." He was not involved with the study.
 
It's unknown, for now, whether this star system harbors other planets.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/new-planet-hot-real-hot/

Filed Under:  
Assigned 48 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do scientists want to find a “twin Earth?”
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (121)
  • kairik-nar
    11/30/2015 - 08:20 p.m.

    C.T.Q: They want to find a twin earth so that they can hopefully find new life and possibly learn from this new life. The life could be anywhere from an insect to a fully grown human just like us.

    Personal Comments: I really like the idea of there being other life. They could be searching for us right now as well, with possibly better technology than ours. We could learn a few things, and so could they!

  • kairik-nar
    11/30/2015 - 08:20 p.m.

    C.T.Q: They want to find a twin earth so that they can hopefully find new life and possibly learn from this new life. The life could be anywhere from an insect to a fully grown human just like us.

    Comments: I really like the idea of there being other life. They could be searching for us right now as well, with possibly better technology than ours. We could learn a few things, and so could they!

  • kairik-nar
    11/30/2015 - 08:21 p.m.

    C.T.Q: They want to find a twin earth so that they can hopefully find new life and possibly learn from this new life. The life could be anywhere from an insect to a fully grown human just like us.

    Comments: I really like the idea of there being other life. They could be searching for us right now as well, with possibly better technology than ours. We could learn a few things, and so could they!

  • sunl-nar
    11/30/2015 - 08:36 p.m.

    It's quite surprising how this planet is like a twin to Venus. The planet's atmosphere makes it even more interesting because usually hot planets have no atmosphere. Even though scientists were looking for a "twin" Earth, it is quite interesting to find another "twin" of a planet in our solar system.

  • davidc-nar
    11/30/2015 - 09:12 p.m.

    I think that maybe if Armageddon happens, the twin Earth is our go-to. but the transportation would be very difficult, because it would have to be VERY VERY VERY fast, or VERY VERY VERY many rockets because there are 7.125 billion people on Earth. Scientists also might be looking for a similar planet to compare Earth to.

  • collinf-2-bar
    11/30/2015 - 10:37 p.m.

    Scientists want to find a "twin Earth" because scientists have realized that humans will eventually make the Earth too polluted to live on. We could also run out of natural resources. A "twin Earth" would give humans somewhere to go when we can no longer live on Earth.

    I am curious to find out if there is a "twin Earth" somewhere in the universe.

  • carterl-nar
    12/01/2015 - 01:39 p.m.

    That's awesome that they discovered a new planet. Its really hot.

  • prestonj-nar
    12/01/2015 - 01:40 p.m.

    They want to find one for a couple of different reasons. I think the main reason is if something happens to earth we can go there. That is why I think they are looking for a twin earth.

  • daniels-nar
    12/01/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

    They want to find a twin Earth so when our Earth dies we can go and inhabit another planet.

  • valerieh-nar
    12/01/2015 - 02:12 p.m.

    It is so cool how we found another planet! Hopefully one day we can find a planet just like Earth. Human population could double!

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT